Your cat is highly skilled at hiding, whether from a sudden influx of guests, a new puppy, or the robotic vacuum cleaner. However, your feline friend is also a master at disguising illness and injury. Your cat is adept at concealing medical issues that range from mild (e.g., muscle sprain) to severe (e.g., organ dysfunction), manifesting when the condition has become advanced.
By staying alert to subtle changes in your whiskered pal’s behavior, habits, and appearance, you can spot health issues while they are minor. If your cat exhibits the signs we discuss here, you should make an appointment with your Just Cats Clinic veterinarian for an examination.
#1: Urination changes in cats
Cats are prone to urinary issues that stress, dehydration, dietary inadequacies, smelly litter boxes, and myriad other causes can trigger. In addition to being incredibly painful, a urinary problem can worsen and potentially lead to a life-threatening urethral obstruction. Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is more common in young, otherwise healthy cats, whereas urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more likely to develop in older cats with concurrent health problems. Regardless of the underlying cause for your cat’s urinary problems, you should schedule an appointment with our Just Cats Clinic team if your whiskered pal exhibits any of the following signs:
- Frequent urination
- Small amounts of urine
- Blood in the urine
- Straining to produce urine
- Vocalizing while urinating
- Urinating outside the litter box
#2: Increased thirst in cats
Because their ancestors originated in the desert, domesticated cats have adapted to drinking very little. When you feed your feline friend a canned diet, they get a great deal of moisture from their food, so they do not feel thirsty and avoid drinking from their bowl. However, if your cat runs to the bathroom each time you turn on the shower, lingers by the sink when you wash dishes, or drains their water bowl dry, they need veterinary care. Excessive drinking can be attributed to a dry food diet, stress, a hot environment, increased exercise, and certain medications. A cat whose thirst has increased, however, may have developed a concerning medical condition such as:
- A urinary issue
- Kidney disease
- Liver dysfunction
- Adrenal gland disorders
#3: Inappropriate elimination in cats
Inappropriate elimination is one of the most frustrating challenges cat owners face. Whether your cat is peeing on your plush bedroom rug or pooping right next to the litter box, they are in need of veterinary care. Don’t wait weeks or months to seek care as it is harder to resolve these cases after they have become chronic. Cats may urinate or defecate outside the litter box for a range of reasons, including:
- Poor litter box hygiene or placement
- Bullying from other household cats
- Urinary issues
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Endocrine disorders
- Organ dysfunction
#4: Sneezing in cats
Feline upper respiratory infections are common, regardless of the number of interactions they have with other cats. Many bacterial and viral pathogens responsible for sneezing, ocular and nasal discharge, fever, and lethargy can subside, only to reappear. While your cat can become a lifelong respiratory pathogen carrier, when our Just Cats Clinic team treats their signs, your whiskered pal feels better and can battle the disease more effectively.
#5: Excessive grooming in cats
While cats are typically fastidious groomers, if your feline friend is excessively licking or chewing their coat, they may have an underlying problem that requires veterinary treatment. Cats may pull their fur or obsessively groom a particular area for many reasons, some of which include:
- Bladder inflammation
- Matted fur
#6: Bad breath in cats
If your cat’s breath is particularly foul, they likely have significant dental disease, which is the most common condition veterinarians diagnose, as almost all pets have some periodontal problems at a young age. In fact, up to 90% of cats have dental disease by age 3. Signs include inflamed gums, brown or yellow tartar accumulation, and broken or missing teeth.
Other potential bad breath causes include kidney disease, diabetic ketoacidosis, and oral tumors. No matter the cause of your feline friend’s atrocious breath, our Just Cats Clinic team certainly needs to evaluate your whiskered pal’s oral health.
#7: Vomiting in cats
The occasional hairball is normal for cats, but vomiting indicates a problem. If your cat has chronic vomiting episodes, or vomits multiple times in a short time frame, they need veterinary attention, as the underlying cause may be severe such as a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction or organ dysfunction.
Cats are mysterious creatures. However, you must unravel their mysteries and learn to recognize when your feline friend is exhibiting illness signs that warrant a veterinary examination. Schedule an appointment with our Just Cats Clinic team if you suspect your cat has a concerning health condition.